You’ll Love These 7 Nostalgic Hawaiʻi Snacks

For those who grew up in Hawaiʻi, these snacks bring back sweet memories.
Arare (japanese Crackers) On A White Background
Photo: Getty Images

For many, perusing the snack aisle in any grocery store feels like a stroll down memory lane. And because of the many ethnic influences here, so much about the Islands are unique, from culture to cuisine, and that’s true for snacks, too. So next time you’re in a grocery store in Hawaiʻi, make sure to visit the snack aisle.     

1. Arare (aka Mochi Crunch or Kakimochi)  


Mochi crunch wrapped in seaweed.
Photo: Grace Maeda

Made in various shapes, sizes and colors, the crunchy rice crackers are a quintessential snack in Hawaiʻi. The soy sauce-flavored crackers also come slightly sweet, spicy or wrapped in seaweed.   

2. Hurricane Popcorn  

Hurricane popcorn

Hurricane popcorn covered in butter, furikake seasoning and mixed with mochi crunch.
Photo: Grace Maeda

What’s a movie without Hurricane Popcorn? Covered in butter, furikake seasoning (a blend of seaweed, sesame seeds, salt and sugar), and mixed with mochi crunch, it’s hard to think of a better way to eat popcorn. Caution, this snack will leave hands a buttery mess.   

3. Crack Seed   

Just thinking about crack seed’s pungent flavor combination—salty, sour and sweet—makes local salivary glands tingle. Tracing its origin illustrates the influence of different cultures in Hawaiʻi. Crack seed is preserved fruit that’s salted and sugared. Chinese immigrants first introduced the preserved snack to Hawaiʻi in the mid-1800s. Now, throughout Hawaiʻi, crack seed stores are nearly filled from floor to ceiling with jars of different varieties of preserved fruit. A must-try, crack seed can also be found at grocery stores. While the sour and sweet flavor may be shocking at first, the distinct taste is hard to forget, in a great way. 

 4. Li Hing Mui Powder on Anything   

Li Hing Mui Candy

Li hing mui is an essential ingredient to the best candies.
Photo: Grace Maeda

Fittingly translated to “traveling plum,” li hing mui is a popular type of crack seed. In powdered form, it is an essential ingredient in Hawaiʻi’s best and most beloved candies. From gummies to dried mango, a coat of li hing mui powder adds a terrific sweet and sour flavor.   

5. White Rabbits  

White Rabbits are unique: Each individual candy is wrapped in thin rice paper, which is meant to be eaten with the candy. Longtime fans of White Rabbits probably share the same childhood memory of amazement upon learning that it’s OK to eat the wrapping. Along with the creamy candy, the edible paper just melts in the mouth. Although White Rabbits now come in a variety of flavors, vanilla is the well-known classic.   

6. Maui Onion Chips 

Maui onion chips

Crispy, salty and slightly sweet Maui onion chips.
Photo: Grace Maeda

Crispy, salty and slightly sweet, Maui onion chips one-up regular potato chips. Covered in Maui onion seasoning and perfectly golden, the chips have a delicious savory flavor and crunch. They’re great at the beach, as long as you don’t mind sharing.   

7. Dried Cuttlefish   

Dried cuttle fish

Dried cuttlefish, the jerky of the sea.
Photo: Grace Maeda

It tastes better than it smells, we promise! With a briny flavor, chewy texture, and packed with protein, dried cuttlefish is seafood jerky. The dried fish also comes spicy or slightly sweet. The snack is perfect for grazing because you’ll always want more. 

Categories: Arts + Culture, Shopping